Chapter 584, Part I: Murong Qinghe

Zu An frowned. “I could’ve just bought a place with my own money if you didn’t have any vacant buildings. Why did you have to seize someone else’s place like this?”

“Do you think that you can buy a house in the capital just because you have money?” said Zhuxie Chixin indifferently.

Zu An snorted. What, is there a bloody lottery system for this too?

“Even if you can’t buy one, couldn’t I just live in an inn? I really can’t stomach this sort of killing.”

“You are an Embroidered Envoy, and the crown prince’s secretary as well. It would be a huge scandal if we made you live in an inn, and it would be terribly damaging for the reputation of the imperial court,” Zhuxie Chixin said with an angry huff. However, he continued, “There’s no need for you to fret. The master of this clan was shown the emperor’s favor, but he proved disloyal, double-crossing His Majesty and colluding with the Devil Sect. This is the fate they deserve.”

Zu An fell silent. Even though he understood the rationale behind it, he had come from a civilized world. He just couldn’t accept how human lives weren’t valued in this world.

At the same time, he realized that Zhuxie Chixin had deliberately brought him here and showed him this scene as a warning. He was reminding him that, if he did not discharge his duty towards the emperor, he would end up just like this clan.

It took the embroidered envoys some time to clean out the interior, after which, Zhuxie Chixin showed him in.

Zu An had to give the Embroidered Envoy credit. There were no bloodstains left inside. These were definitely true professionals.

Zhuxie Chixin said, “Why don’t you stay here from now on? I’ll arrange for some maids and servants.”

“There’s no need. I’m used to living alone, and this place isn’t that big. I can take care of everything by myself.” Zu An quickly refused the offer. Who knew how many spies would be watching him if he let him arrange for helpers!

Zhuxie Chixin frowned, but he wasn’t about to argue over something so trivial. “All right, then. Rest up today, then report to the eastern palace on your own tomorrow morning.”

He waved a hand, and a subordinate appeared with several sets of clothes and a command token.

“These are the uniforms and the command token of the crown prince’s palace secretary. You can use these to enter the palace, but you must leave the palace before dawn.” Zhuxie Chixin lowered his voice. “Of course, given your status as an Embroidered Envoy, you can still stay in the palace, but that might compromise your identity. You can act as you see fit.”

“Thank you for the reminder, Chief Commander.” Even though Zu An had seen his fair share of degenerate harem web novels, and he secretly desired a harem himself, he wouldn’t let that mess with his mind. Besides, the emperor was the number one expert in this world. His divine senses covered the entire imperial palace. Nothing would escape his detection.

On top of all of that, he had bumped into many restrictions while Zhuxie Chixin was escorting him around the imperial palace. If he were to wander around an unfamiliar place like the inner palace, he could easily run into trouble.

Zhuxie Chixin taught him several secret methods of contact unique to the members of the Embroidered Envoy, then got up to leave.

“It’s already time to eat. Let me act as a proper host and invite you to a meal.” Even Zu An felt as though his tone wasn’t all that sincere.

Zhuxie Chixin shook his head. “The Embroidered Envoy avoid interacting privately with each other. Do not bring up things like entertaining guests in the future. I’m leaving.”

He turned to leave. It seemed as though he had only taken a few steps, but he vanished into the distance in the blink of an eye.

Zu An snorted. These fellows didn’t even have a social relationship with each other. The Embroidered Envoy only looked cool from the outside.

He suddenly turned around. “Show yourself!”

A charming figure entered. “You’re getting more and more vigilant.”

Zu An smiled when he saw the person’s exquisitely braided pigtails. “I’m also pretty strong now, okay? How did you know I was here?”

“I was waiting for news at the palace entrance this whole time,” replied Qiao Xueying. “I wanted to see if there was a chance to rescue you, but I never expected you to leave completely safe and sound! Zhuxie Chixin was beside you, so I didn’t dare get too close, lest I be discovered. I only came after he left.”

Zu An felt his heart soften, and he instinctively drew her into his arms. “Snow, you’re too good to me.”

Qiao Xueying smelled really nice, and her hair was giving off a natural, flowery fragrance, nicer than any shampoo. He supposed it was because she was an elf, which gave her a natural affinity to nature.

She sighed. “What can I do? You’re the man I’ve chosen, after all.” Qiao Xueying hugged him, laying her head against his chest. “After you went in, I was really worried that you wouldn’t come out again. My cultivation isn’t high enough, so I didn’t even know how I would save you.”

Zu An felt his heart surge with compassion. “You silly girl. Given your current cultivation, you’d be cut down before you could even make it through the gates.”

He still remembered how this woman just hadn’t gotten along with him when he first entered this world. After they had confirmed their relationship, her vicious temper was nowhere to be seen, replaced with gentleness instead. He was probably the only one in this world who could enjoy this side of her.

Qiao Xueying raised her head and looked at him with glittery eyes. “But you made it out safe and sound. When you said that you had a plan, I didn’t really believe you. Just how did you do it?”

Zu An said with a smile, “It’s already dark. Let’s find a place to eat and chat some more.”

“Okay. I’m familiar with the capital, and I know a place.” Qiao Xueying held his hand. She was practically skipping as she walked.

Zu An knew that she had to shoulder the responsibility of keeping her clansmen safe at a young age, and now, she had to blend in with the Shadow Group. That organization was surely a dark and lonely place to be in.

“Snow, do you have to stay in the Shadow Group?” he asked. “I think it’s better if you left. It’s just too dangerous.”

“Don’t worry,” replied Qiao Xueying. “I’ve struck a deal with the Shadow Group. I’ll have my freedom as long as I complete one final important task for them.”

Zu An jumped in fright. Do you have any idea what kind of flag you’re planting for yourself? “What is this important task? Is it dangerous?” he asked quickly.

Qiao Xueying shook her head. “I don’t know the details yet. There’s no way there wouldn’t be danger. It’s a mission being given to an assassin, after all. However, I don’t think it’ll be too difficult. I am rather competent, you know?”

“You have to be careful!” Zu An warned her. “I’ve read too many stories where something happened to the character after they declared that the next mission would be their last!”

“Pui, pui, pui!” Qiao Xueying said disdainfully. “There’s no way I’m going to be that unlucky!”

“At least let me know when you’re about to carry out that last mission. I’ll see if I can help you out,” said Zu An.

“Of course.” Qiao Xueying wasn’t worried about the Shadow Group’s rules of secrecy, given their closeness. Knowing that her lover cared so much about her filled her soul with joy.

They soon arrived at a restaurant. The restaurant wasn’t that big, but it was quiet and secluded. She asked for a private room and ordered a large number of dishes. Having spent so much time with him in the Chu clan, she knew his preferences well.

Zu An was surprised. “These are all my favorites! Order some stuff for yourself as well. I’ll pay.”

Qiao Xueying shook her head. “Have you forgotten that I’m an elf? Even though I don’t live off of nature alone, I am not that interested in human food.”

Even back in the Chu clan, she had only eaten a few vegetable dishes. She was much more interested in the desserts. Now that she didn’t have to put up a front anymore, she was obviously not going to eat any of the food.

Zu An thought for a bit, then called over a waiter. He instructed him to bring over some fruit juices and teas, as well as a large plate of melon seeds.

“Seeing how you’re always shooting out vines and other plants, it’s important for you to drink enough liquids to prevent dehydration. I remember that you loved chewing on melon seeds too.”

Qiao Xueying’s eyes immediately lit up. She immediately pulled over the plate of seeds while sipping on the different types of juices. She looked like she was really enjoying herself.

Zu An smiled. Seeing her enjoying the melon seeds really brought him back to his time in the Chu clan.

He then told her all that had happened in the palace. He didn’t even hide his status as an embroidered envoy.

Even though the emperor and Zhuxie Chixin had warned him repeatedly not to reveal his new identity to others, living in this world just wouldn’t be worth it if he couldn’t even trust someone who had shared half her lifespan with him.

“The conflict between King Qi and the emperor has already reached its climax. It’ll be extremely dangerous for you now that you’re caught in the middle of it.” The melon seeds suddenly tasted like ashes in her mouth. “Miss Chu’s grandfather is from the Qin clan too, which is part of King Qi’s core force. What is she supposed to do?”

This was a huge headache for Zu An as well. After some thought, he said, “I don’t think King Qi and I are at the point where we cannot coexist. As for what’s to come, we just have to take things one step at a time. By the way, did you return Chu Youzhao?”

Qiao Xueying rolled her eyes. “What, were you worried that I would kill him behind your back? Relax, I won’t harm him, out of consideration for his sister. Oh, I discovered something else when I returned him. Miss Chu is being detained by the Qin clan.”

Zu An’s face sank. “Chu Youzhao mentioned this when he sought me out. It’s one thing if the Qin clan doesn’t plan to help me, but they’re just causing more trouble. It’s truly hateful.”

“Madam Chu and Elder Qin had a falling out many years ago,” replied Qiao Xueying. “That’s why the relationship between the two families has always been strained. However, the Qin clan has still treated the first miss and the young master quite well.”

Zu An was stunned. “What about Huanzhao?”

Isn’t my lil’ Huanzhao’s existence just too pitiful?

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